Sunday, 24 July 2011

Goodbye 11L

My form class left this term. They have been my school family since September 1995! They spent the whole week before hand telling me with sheer delight how I will cry when they leave. So for their final morning, I had made them photo albums with my favourite memories of them, their best moments, and all the things about them each that I feel should be celebrated! This, combined with a film with some silly pictures really made them (and me!) smile.

However, they then surprised me with a handmade (and laminated!) book with their best memories and comments about their time with me.

The minute I read it the tears started! It was just lovely. This was followed by some beautiful presents from them all, some lovely things said, and some simply inspiring cards from their parents! Most of all though, I love the fact we all thought the same thing!

When I started with them, I said I wanted them to feel like we were a family. In fact, they chose the tag line 'A Family of Achievers'. They started as the EBD class (over half on the behaviour register or with problems at home). Noisy, hardwork, but simply lovely, keen and enthusiastic!

In their time at Lampton, I watched their confidence grow. They presented to ministers all over the world, they represented the school, me and, most importantly, themselves, at a host of events reflecting on their own learning experiences. They started to believe they really were fab at learning. As one commented in his card to me "I can't believe the stuff you made me do. You'd tell me I'd be doing a little talk and then stick me in this room of 100 people and I just had to get on with it. It was scary, but I always felt so good when everyone came and said well done after".

We lost some along the way: Exclusions; moving; changing school; a death and through it all, we stuck together and worked to the end! I could not be more proud of the young adults they have become - both as individuals and as a cohesive group. I have no doubt that some of you will be reading about them in years to come! And most importantly, I know they will continue on with a love of learning for the rest of their lives.

So this is them (and me!) at prom (missing 2 who couldn't go). And you know what, this little reflection got me thinking.... how much of a difference could we all have made to one another if this was an all through school? If this is the difference after 5 short years - what impact could a teacher make after 10? Or even 21 years? Wow!